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The largest restaurant chains in America are struggling to overcome waning demand as the economy continues to slow down. Even giants like Domino’s Pizza, which operates almost 19,000 stores worldwide, are reporting a series of challenges and financial losses in 2023.
The chain is now closing thousands of underperforming locations after recent price hike controversies depressed domestic and international sales and sent its shares plummeting to the lowest level in over a decade. The latest data shows that the pizza company is in far more trouble than we all thought, and experts say that if it fails to fix its problems before the current downturn gets worse, the American pie chain may rapidly become overwhelmed by its debt and fall victim to the Great Retail Collapse.
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In February, conditions for the company have gone from bad to worse. In a single day, share prices plunged by a whopping 16%, marking the largest price decline since 2010. From that point on, share prices have continued to trend down, settling around $310 per share, or about 39% lower than during the same period a year ago. Now, thousands of stores have started to close, with Domino’s making the tough decision to shutter its entire operations in some areas due to profitability concerns.
It all started when just like many other US restaurants, the pizza chain started to adjust to the inflationary environment and raise its delivery and menu prices to offset higher labor and commodity costs. In October 2022, executives reported a 7% price hike that prompted many customers to cook at home instead of getting their meals delivered. Overall, the chain’s prices remain 12% higher than pre-pandemic levels, according to Eat This, Not That.
Industry experts argue that its pricing strategy was not efficient given that the company failed to consider changing consumer spending habits and how competitors’ price increases compared to its own. A new report reveals that Americans became very dissatisfied with the new prices, which led sales to sink all across the country.
Delivery problems are also weighing on Domino’s bottom line. The Michigan-based pizza brand is still experiencing a serious shortage of delivery drivers. With workers seeking out higher wages and better working conditions en masse, many just aren’t interested in delivering pizzas anymore. Despite this clear shift in the US labor market, Domino’s has been hesitant to partner with third-party delivery options like GrubHub or DoorDash, thus, losing customers to other rivals.
In America, the chain is losing ground and market share. Over the past six months, Domino’s significantly underperformed rivals including Pizza Hut and Papa John’s, which actually benefited from new menu news and third-party delivery marketing and driver service.
Its unwillingness to adapt to the current market and while rivals get stronger and snap more market share may throw the company over the edge. Considering how high its debt currently is and the depth of its profitability concerns, Domino’s must come up with better strategies to rebalance its finances soon because not even the largest pizza chain in the world is infallible and immune to the impact of recessions and downturns. This could be the beggining of the end for the company as the US retail apocalypse continues to claim more and more struggling businesses that fail to differentiate themselves in this wildy competitive market.
Video and article cross-posted from Epic Economist.